• Kyodo

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Kanju Sato, a former home affairs minister arrested Sunday, has admitted embezzling 17 million yen from the state in the form of salary payments intended for his no-show secretary, police sources said Wednesday.

“The state-paid secretary did not actually work,” the sources quoted the former House of Representatives member of the Democratic Party of Japan as telling police.

“I intended to pocket her salary from the beginning when I hired her,” Sato, who gave up his Diet seat last week, was quoted as saying.

At the time of his arrest, Sato, 62, maintained that the 51-year-old woman worked for him as a state-paid secretary and received her salary through his wife.

Sato reportedly told police that the woman received none of the state-paid salary.

On Wednesday, his lawyer reiterated that Sato and his wife, 52-year-old Miyoko, who was arrested with him, are planning to return the money to the Lower House’s office as early as possible.

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